City of dreams

Honda hopes young driv­ers will dump the Jazz and rock the City, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

ACAR made to sur­vive traf­fic snarls in Asia’s largest cities is com­ing to Aus­tralia. The Honda City was first in­tro­duced in Thai­land in 1996 and is now ex­ported to 36 coun­tries.

Aus­tralia has ig­nored the first two gen­er­a­tions of the Thai-built car, but has de­cided to bring the just in­tro­duced third-gen­er­a­tion model here in Fe­bru­ary.

The City’s nat­u­ral com­peti­tors are sedan ver­sions of the Toy­ota Yaris and Holden Ba­rina, and Honda be­lieves it will also be shopped against the Nis­san Ti­ida sedan.

Pric­ing is yet to be locked in but you can ex­pect the City range, which will be made up of two mod­els, to run from $17,990 to $21,990.

The City es­sen­tially fills the gap left by the Civic sedan, which has grown larger and be­come more ex­pen­sive with each gen­er­a­tion.

Honda Aus­tralia hopes it will ap­peal more to younger peo­ple than the Jazz, which has an av­er­age cus­tomer age of 55.

It may not look any­thing like it, but the City is based on the Honda Jazz, shar­ing 60 per cent of its parts.

The en­gine comes straight from the Jazz. It’s a 1.5-litre four-cylin­der that pro­duces 88kw at 6600 revs and 145Nm at 4800 revs.

In the Jazz it uses 6.4 litres for 100km with a man­ual trans­mis­sion but Thai fuel-con­sump­tion fig­ures show the City ac­tu­ally uses slightly less fuel than its hatch­back sib­ling.

It is not clear whether this will trans­late when the con­sump­tion is tested ac­cord­ing to our stan­dards, but it is im­pres­sive, es­pe­cially as the City weighs 40 to 60kg more than the Jazz.

Like the Jazz, the City will have a five-speed man­ual as stan­dard or a five speed au­to­matic.

The City is big­ger than you might think. In fact, it isn’t that much smaller than the Civic sedan and is in­deed larger in some re­spects.

The City is not as wide, 1695mm to 1750mm, and not as long, 4410mm to 4550mm, but is not all that far off.

Honda says the City has more rear legroom than a Civic.

The City is 510mm longer than the Jazz and this ex­tra length has been added be­hind the driver and passenger seat, hence that legroom.

Like the Jazz, the petrol tank is be­neath the driver and passenger, which helps with space ef­fi­ciency.

The City has a larger boot than the Civic. Its 506 litres of space can carry four golf bags and eas­ily swal­low the largest cooler box you can get.

Per­haps more im­por­tantly for young fam­i­lies, a large pram also fits in there. The City is used by many taxi and limo op­er­a­tors in Thai­land and, as such, has a re­tractable rear seat.

This fea­ture won’t make it to Aus­tralia. We will have a reg­u­lar 60/40 split rear seat in­stead.

Built off the same ba­sic base as the Jazz, the City has MacPher­son strut front and tor­sion beam rear sus­pen­sion and the steer­ing is elec­tron­i­cally power-as­sisted. N AUS­TRALIA, the City will come stan­dard with anti-skid disc brakes and front, side and cur­tain airbags, but elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol will not be avail­able for an­other two years.

The en­try-level car will have 15-inch steel rims and the up-mar­ket model sporty 16-inch al­loys.

In Thai­land, the City doesn’t have a CD player. In­stead it has a USB port and an aux port for MP3 play­ers and iPods, and you can still lis­ten to the ra­dio.

Aus­tralian City mod­els will also have a CD player.

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